The Many Types of Motivation

The question, “Why do I need to know this?” By posing this question, students are informing the teacher, “I do not find this valuable or interesting,” thus we would fully expect interest to wane. Informing students “you will need this next year” introduces external motivations that are unlikely to increase interest. Unfamiliar, incongruous, or personally meaningful problems, puzzles, or examples can lead to triggered situational interest which finds students being immediately interested in a short-term setting in the classroom. Personal and social involvement with the curriculum can lead to maintained situational interest. Once learners begin to self-initiate engagement and make their own decisions regarding continued engagement, they are demonstrating emerging individual interest. As learners develop positive dispositions towards the curriculum and as they develop greater knowledge, they demonstrate well-developed individual interest. Situational interest, which is largely affected by decisions made by the teacher can avoid relying on ineffective external motivators and encourage interest-based engagement which may lead to intrinsic motivation to continue studies.